Closing remarks by the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Union Ambassador Vladimir Chizhov at the First Connecting Eurasia Dialogue – from the Atlantic to the Pacific
To begin with, I would like to express gratitude to the organisers of the forum – the Conoscere Eurasia Association, its President Professor Antonio Fallico and the Roscongress Foundation – for bringing together in Brussels representatives of member states of the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union, other Eurasian countries, international business and expert communities, to discuss issues of multilateral cooperation and connectivity on our continent.
Throughout history Europe and Asia have been united by common interests in the economy, politics and culture, trade routes were built and large connecting infrastructure projects implemented. By virtue of geographical, cultural and civilisational factors Russia has always played the role of a link between West and East, a bridge that facilitated stronger mutual interest and development of practical cooperation. Modern interpretation of this idea is embodied in the concept of establishing a common economic and humanitarian space from the Atlantic to the Pacific and the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to create a Greater Eurasian Partnership that were discussed at today’s forum. It is probably the first time that countries of the Eurasian continent got an opportunity to rely in this regard on the potential of large integration associations such as the EAEU and the EU, to discuss the prospect of “integrating integrations”.
I am delighted that discussions at the forum confirm that expert dialogue on this issue is in demand not only within its traditional “cradle”, the Italian city of Verona, but also at the Brussels platform. In order to maintain one’s positions in the Eurasian world it is important to overcome artificial barriers in the sphere of interaction between interstate integration institutions and abandon the misconception that the goals of various integration associations in Eurasia are incompatible.
Business is called to play an important role in this context. In this regard I would like to note the active stance adopted by representatives of business community who spoke today in favour of enlarging mutually beneficial cross-border economic ties across the Eurasian space. It is crucial that regardless of far-fetched obstacles and unilateral artificial restrictions business remains interested in continuing such work and normalising cooperation, implementing new joint projects on the basis of their economic expediency. I expect that the forum will promote intensification of direct business dialogue and contribute to enhancing connectivity for the benefit of states and peoples of our continent.
I hope that today’s event will facilitate dialogue between regulatory authorities in the framework of the Eurasian and European Commissions. Elaborating efficient cooperation mechanisms between EAEU and EU institutions would fully meet economic interests of our countries. This should also be a point in direct contacts between EAEU and EU experts aimed at discussing concrete issues that are subject to regulation at supra-national level.
A lot was said today about the expediency of harmonising norms of technical and customs regulations, of implementing infrastructure projects. In this context we look forward to wider bilateral experts interaction in the field of technical regulation and standardisation, of including on the basis of results of the relevant Russia-EU project that was completed in 2016. Wide prospects are opened to cooperation on enhancing Eurasian transport links, systems of international transport corridors based on traditional routes as well as new opportunities in the context of developing the Northern Sea Route and other current initiatives in Eurasia.
The use of digital technologies constitutes undoubtedly a key element of promoting connectivity. Exchange of best practices in this field in the context of implementation of the EAEU 2025 Digital Agenda and establishment of the EU Digital Single Market is in high demand. The theme of mutually beneficial energy cooperation tempered in the years of the Cold War, including building relevant cross-border infrastructure increasing interconnectivity and interdependency, could also attract experts of our integration associations and other interested countries of the continent. And finally, we should develop cooperation in science and technology in order to establish, inter alia, new multilateral alliances taking into account the interaction experience accumulated within relevant international programmes.
I am convinced that mutually beneficial cooperation on exclusively equal footing based on common interests and expanded connectivity in the Eurasian space constitutes a key factor of successful development of EAEU and EU member states, of all countries of the continent. I expect that in a year’s time we will meet again at the forum “Connecting Eurasia – from the Atlantic to the Pacific” in Brussels to continue the dialogue we started today.